Spot-fixing controversy September 19, 2010

South Africa play down UAE tour concerns

Senior figures in South African cricket have played down reports that allegations of spot-fixing marring Pakistan's tour of England had made South Africa's cricketers reluctant to play Pakistan in the UAE next month.

"I haven't heard anyone saying they won't play," Andrew Hudson, CSA's convenor of selectors, told ESPNcricinfo. "We should be announcing the squad next week, and it's business as usual."

When asked what he would do if, as reported in the UK's Sunday Telegraph, some of South Africa's senior players wanted to pull out of the tour, Hudson said, "If players don't want to play, I'll be happy to leave them out."

One of those senior players told ESPNcricinfo the South Africans, who are no strangers to the dangers of match-fixing in the wake of the Hansie Cronje scandal, were anxious that action should be taken against Pakistan if the spot-fixing allegations were proved. "As long as the right steps are taken, it will be OK to play against Pakistan," the player said. "But the ICC needs to eradicate this from the game because it's hurting all of us."

Despite his strongly expressed views, he ruled out players refusing to tour because of alleged corruption in the game. "I haven't heard guys saying they won't tour, and I'm fine to follow whatever advice we get from the ICC and Cricket South Africa."

Gerald Majola, CSA's chief executive, had told ESPNcricinfo that no player had expressed reservations to the board about participating in the series and there was no reason to call off the tour.

South Africa are scheduled to play a Twenty20 international, five ODIs and two Tests against Pakistan during a tour of the UAE starting on October 27 and ending on November 24.

Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa